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Notebook: Kadarius Toney makes progress; Aaron Robinson, Elerson Smith eye NFL debuts


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Kadarius Toney improved from a non-participant in practice Thursday to limited Friday, a small step that could have big ramifications for the Giants on Monday night in Kansas City.

With Sterling Shepard progressing toward a possible return, the Giants could have two excellent receivers who missed last week's victory against Carolina back in the lineup to face the two-time defending AFC champion Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium.

Shepard was listed as limited for the second straight day. He has missed three of the last four games with a hamstring injury but caught 10 passes against the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 17.

Toney set a franchise rookie record with 189 receiving yards in his last full game and has 13 receptions in his last five quarters. That includes the first quarter vs. the Rams, when he caught three passes but aggravated an ankle injury eluding a defender on the last one, forcing him to miss the Carolina game.

The Giants' third wounded wideout, Kenny Golladay (knee), and running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) again did not practice.

The Giants could use as much firepower as they can deploy against the high-scoring Chiefs, who are averaging 26.9 points a game even after their three-point outing last week in Tennessee.

Asked prior to practice about Toney, Golladay and Barkley, coach Joe Judge said, "They'll start with the trainers. They should incorporate and be more with the team today than they've been the last few days. We'll see how they go with the trainers. We're expecting to get a little bit more out of those guys today, though."

Toney, who specializes in short answers when he speaks publicly, did not deviate today when asked about his condition and his status for Monday.

He offered that he is "feeling pretty good."

Asked how the ankle is coming along, he said, "day by day, listening to the trainers, follow the process."

Does he think he'll be ready to face the Chiefs?

"I mean, it's day by day," he said. "You know what I'm saying? Listening to trainers, so we'll see when it's game time."

How much did he so today?

"I was able to do enough," he said. "Progress, you know."

How close is he to "normal?"

"I feel like I'm just progressing day by day, really," he said.

Perhaps the most interesting post-practice interaction Toney had was with team president John Mara. Leonard Williams and Toney were waiting to speak to the media when cornerback James Bradberry was at the podium. Mara walked by coming off the practice field and gave both players a fist bump. When it was Toney's turn to speak, a reporter said, "not everybody gets a fist bump from the team owner. What does that say to you about how important you are?"

"No, everybody does get a fist bump from the owner," said Toney, the Giants' first-round draft choice this year. "A lot of stuff doesn't get seen around here. It's a family environment here. There isn't anybody who doesn't like anybody here. You know what I'm saying? Everybody – it's a good environment here, so that just shows you how cordial and how good everything is here."

Toney can help make it a little bit better if he plays on Monday.

View the best photos of wide receiver Kadarius Toney's rookie season with the Giants.

*Two other Giants 2021 draft choices – Aaron Robinson and Elerson Smith - could make their NFL debuts Monday night.

The rookies have been practicing since Oct. 20. Robinson, a cornerback from Central Florida chosen in the third round, has been on the reserve/physically unable to perform list since training camp began with a core muscle injury that required offseason surgery. Smith, an outside linebacker from Northern Iowa selected in the fourth round, was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 1 with a hamstring injury he suffered early in training camp.

"There's a chance (Robinson will play)," Judge said. "He practiced with us last week. He was out there with us yesterday doing a lot more. He's moving well. I'd say obviously coming off the injury, that kind of delayed his start with the season. I'd say he's been very encouraging in terms of how he's moving. He's been really involved schematically and game plan-wise throughout the entire course of this process with (assistant defensive backs coach) Mike Treier and (defensive backs coach) Jerome Henderson in terms of staying up on what we're doing – terminology, verbiage, communication. … We'll see where it goes these next couple days. Obviously, we've got (just-signed defensive back) J.R. (Reed) on the roster now and some other guys. We'll see how he kind of picks up the scheme stuff, but there is a chance.

"(Smith is) actually in the same boat. We'll see him out there today again. There's kind of a different list of guys at the corner, star positions, as well as the outside backers, so we'll kind of see how it shakes out."

*The Giants have an epidemic of ankle injuries. In addition to Barkley, three other players missed practice with the same issue: linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Carter Coughlin (a new addition to the injury report) and safety Nate Ebner.

Joining Toney and Shepard on the limited practice list were tight ends Evan Engram (calf) and Kaden Smith (knee) and defensive lineman Danny Shelton (pec).

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